Imagine it. Brooklyn, sometime in the 1980s. I was just a kid and happened to catch some tv segment about families visiting Finnish Lapland to meet the big guy in red in the “real” North Pole. It looked magical then but our family did not go on vacations no less fancy international ones to play in the snow so I filed it away in the back reaches of my brain. It wasn’t until years later that I was bit by the travel bug that I realized this was a real thing that lots of people did. (Mostly Europeans. Lapland is not on the travel map of most Americans – likely due to the distance and general lack of marketing to Americans). I have been waiting for my kids to be old enough to enjoy the experience and it was finally time. Off we headed to Finnish Lapland.
There are many ways to visit Lapland but we opted for the easy way out – an organized tour. Normally that isn’t really our thing but this made the most sense because we wanted to get the most out of the short time we had there (we didn’t want to the kids to miss more school than necessary). We ended up going with a company called Canterbury Travel.
Our charter flight left from Gatwick outside of London and off we went flying North to the
It had a blazing fireplace, a drying room and a sauna and we used all three as much as we could in the time we had. The tour company arranges snow suits for everyone involved and they kept us very toasty warm. The only problem was getting them on and off 2 wriggly children 10x a day.
There is very little daylight in Lapland which makes photography a challenge but it was beautiful day and night. In our 3 days there we rode in reindeer pulled sleighs, got pulled by husky dogs, played with Santa’s elves, met St. Nick and Mrs. Claus, drank lots of hot berry juice, roasted smores, pulled the kids on sleds, made snow men and snow angels and just generally walked around in a winter wonderland. It was a magical trip and I highly recommend it!
While I fully expected to enjoy it, I was surprised just how much I personally enjoyed the outdoor activities. The reindeer farm was a highlight – learning about how the animals are raised and how the farmers care for them was fascinating. Even without Santa’s magic, I would gladly return there in a heartbeat to see and do more at a more relaxing pace.
Sadly we never got a view of the Northern Lights. A good reason as any to return!